PORTAGE PARK — And then there were seven.
Mike Keeney, a Chicago police officer, and John Cianci, two of the nine candidates who sought to replace Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th), whose family has represented Portage Park and Dunning since 1973, were removed Monday from the ballot, Chicago elections officials said.
Keeney did not submit at least 473 signatures to qualify for the ballot, according to the ruling by a hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Elections.
"I started a little too late," Keeney said Monday. "I didn't have the infrastructure set up to let people help me."
Cianci, who did not immediately return phone and email messages Monday afternoon, failed to sign his statement of candidacy, dooming his bid for the 38th Ward seat on the City Council, elections officials ruled.
Both Keeney and Cianci had their petitions challenged by Janelle Rau-Clauson, an assistant director for the Service Employee International Union.
Rau-Clauson, who is also the Illinois State Director of President Barack Obama's political organization, did not immediately return a phone message Monday afternoon.
Rau-Clauson also challenged the petitions filed by Michael Duda and Cook County Forest Preserve Police Sgt. Jerry Paszek, and sought to have them tossed off the ballot. Those challenges are still pending, according to the board of elections' website.
The other candidates in the race are Belinda Cadiz; Realtor Tom Caravette; Carmen Hernandez, a City of Chicago water department investigator; Heather Sattler, the chief operating officer of the 100 Club of Chicago; and Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th).
Keeney said he was recovering well from a crash Dec. 27 near Irving Park Road and Melvina Avenue. Another police officer was also injured in the crash, which police said was caused when another car failed to yield to the police car.
"I'm just banged up," Keeney said. "It is nothing short of a miracle we both made it home."
In races where no candidate earns 50 percent of the votes cast on Feb. 24, a runoff between the top two candidates will take place April 7.
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